Anthony Watmough : NRL Rugby League - Round 1. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles V Melbourne Storm at Brookvale Oval Saturday the 8th of March 2014 . Digital Image by Robb Cox nrlphotos.com

Anthony Watmough expects the Sea Eagles to improve their defence ahead of his side’s showdown clash with the Rabbitohs on Friday night.

An uncharacteristic second half last week saw the Sea Eagles concede 22-unanswered points, and ultimately their season opener against the Storm.

But the Sea Eagles recognise they can ill-afford another 40-minute performance like the one on Saturday against premiership favourites South Sydney on Friday night.

“We pride ourselves on defence. Injuries occur in games but we have to adapt better and we can’t use [Brett’s injury] as an excuse,” Watmough said.

“Our performance on Saturday just wasn’t up to NRL standards.”

The Rabbitohs are coming off an emphatic victory against defending premiers Roosters and will be eager to amend their preliminary final loss at the hands of the Sea Eagles last year.

“They were really impressive. They looked like they picked off where they left last year,” Watmough said.

“They’ve got some big boys and they run hard, so we’ve got to pick up our physicality of the game.

“We have to really get our bodies in front and try and slow them down as best we can because if we don’t, Issac Luke is going to have a field day.”